Final Fantasy XIV is a universally acclaimed MMORPG, and we here in Speakers of Hydaleyn are obviously big fans. I mean, our name is Speakers of Hydaelyn – so it would be weird if we weren’t. Anyway, like most MMOs, FFXIV has a lot of instanced dungeons. Some are great, others not so great. And with Stormblood on the horizon, we decided to get together and score the initial 2.x dungeons from 1-10 based on certain criterias, we added those scores up to make a final score. We’ve scored the dungeons on the following criteria: Length – By that we mean the perceived length. Does it feel too long, too short? Or perfect? Map Design – Meaning the overall layout of the dungeon, architecture, mob placement and pacing. Bosses – Here meaning the bosses mechanics, memorability and difficulty. Atmosphere – Here meaning whether the dungeon sells the illusion it’s set out to do. In other words: Immersion. And lastly – Monster variety – Do the monsters fit the dungeon, and are there enough monster varieties to keep you interested? So with that established. Here are Speakers of Hydaelyn’s Top 10 Dungeons From a Realm Reborn! Number 10! Snowcloak. A beautiful snow and ice themed dungeon with some really amazing details.
This dungeon catches the number 10 spot for its diverse cast of bosses. The Yeti get’s the most praise for forcing party members to communicate and strategize to kill the boss quicker. The dungeon’s visual design is gorgeous and features monsters that really fit the bill. However, the dungeon is artificially dragged out due to annoying gates with corresponding keys, and a soundtrack that, although beautiful, makes this dungeon a real snorefest. Number 9! Hullbreaker Isle. This tropical dungeon snags the 9th spot for it’s innovative design at the time, jumping down a large cliff, walking into traps and MIMICS! The dungeon feels perfectly paced, has very few boring areas and has a soundtrack that managed to define it. The last boss is the Kraken which was really groundbreaking for FFXIV at the time, and proved a big challenge, even today. However the theming feels a bit cluttered, as the tropical feel is temporarily interrupted in the second part of the dungeon – breaking immersion, before your thrown out into the tropics again. The actual mobs are also pretty flat, mostly consisting of bugs and monkeys.
Number 8! Haukke Manor. This haunted house might be 2spooky4me, but it gets the number 8 spot for it’s overall map design. It has a good length that doesn’t feel too long, and not too short. It also has several optional areas to explore, and looking for keys to proceed to certain areas actually feels rewarding and fun. However a major drawback in this dungeon is the music. Like most vanilla A Realm Reborn dungeons, the music, which is actually pretty decent, cuts out after less than a minute, and you are left with silence, or the generic battle theme you’ve heard so many times before. And the bosses are not as fun as we’d expect form a haunted house, and they come off as pretty basic overall.
Number 7! Haukke Manor (Hard). Well well well, here we are again. Haukke Manor Hard was a minor improvement of the original normal mode dungeon, and that is why it caught spot number 7 on the list. The design of this dungeon just reeks of the void. The mansion is in a horrible state, with furniture being strewn around or fallen over, debris covering most of the floor and the deep red that seeps through the floors and walls. However, if anything, this dungeon somehow feels longer than its normal mode, and has a few points in where it gets a little boring. The bosses are nothing special, if only a little better than its normal counterpart. And the theme is the theme that we now consider the ”generic Hard Mode theme”, though to it’s defense, this is probably where it fits the most.
Number 6! Brayflox’s Longstop (Hard). This dungeon gets the number 6 spot because it is a quick dungeon that doesn’t feel like it ends too soon. A perfectly paced dungeon with a set of really fun bosses that makes this a dungeon you won’t mind doing again and again. Goblins looking to protect their cheese secrets from the Illuminati. I mean, how can you go wrong with that. The music in this dungeon is sadly the generic “Hard Mode” theme I mentioned in Haukke Manor Hard, which pulls it down a bit, the map design is a little bit lazy, with some artificial length added to the dungeon through gating, and the monster variety is a bit bland, with mostly the same mobs you’d find in this dungeon’s normal mode.
Number 5! The Sunken Temple of Qarn (Hard). A dungeon that gets a lot of praise for its bosses, which are all a blast to do, and breaks the mold a bit when it comes to boss design in FFXIV. The atmosphere is set really quickly in this dungeon, and you really do feel like you are re-exploring Qarn at a deeper level than it’s normal mode. It also has MUMMIES, which of course brings this up to spot number 5 alone. Just kidding. Kinda. Number 4! Pharos Sirius. This dungeon looks beautiful. A lighthouse infested with corrupted crystals, zombies and… a massive bird. The path to the top of the lighthouse is interesting with multiple optional areas to explore and the bosses all brought some new mechanics to the table at the time. Siren, although now being nerfed significantly, is still somewhat of a challenge and generally fun to play. This dungeon had a beautiful theme for the first minute or so, before it cut out to be replaced with the generic battle theme, until it was patched later to play the full theme.
An iconic theme that is among a lot of players’ favourite tracks from FFXIV. Number 3! Castrum Meridianum. The first real 8-man dungeon you ever experienced in ARR. And boy was it epic. It feels like a massive, open area. Welcome to the Garlean Castrum, the monsters you encounter are all Garlean themed, nothing feels out of place. The music gets you pumped, and the bosses all feel unique in their own way. This dungeon is bound to make an everlasting impression on you the first time you play it. Lengthwise the dungeon has some gates that must be opened, but these all feel like they belong there, it is a castrum after all. The dungeon also has a “cheese mode” which basically allows you speedrun this dungeon quite efficiently, and it still feels as epic as the normal mode. In fact, most people think the cheese mode is the actual normal mode, and no one has complained! Fantastic! Number 2! The Tam-Tara Deepcropft (Hard). Betcha didn’t see that one coming.
This dungeon gets the second place mostly for its haunting atmosphere, dark music theme and monster designs. But this gets bonus points for being tied to game’s lore in a very special way. If you know the lore behind Edda and her beloved Avere, you will certainly enjoy this dungeon. With every note you read as you descend the deepcroft, it becomes apparent that our poor Edda has lost her mind and gone dark side, all in an attempt to resurrect her beloved Avere. The twisted music paired with the haunting new look of the Tam-Tara Deepcroft makes this a dungeon you’ll never really forget. The dungeon never feels too long, and if you add the note hunting, you’re almost wanting the dungeon to last longer! This dungeon is everything Tam-Tara Deepcroft Normal wasn’t, and it’s glorious.
Number 1! The Praetorium. The jewel of A Realm Reborn. A solid Main Scenario Dungeon that is both exciting the first time, as it is the 10th time you run it. This is where the main scenario of reaches it’s climax and you are right there in the middle of it all. The theme is an adrenaline generator, the bosses are all exciting and rewarding – and the final boss is a 3 phase masterpiece – Ultima Weapon. You even get to ride a Magitek mount INSIDE THE DUNGEON! The inside of the Praetorium is massive, and really gives you the impression of being inside a Garlean stronghold. This dungeon is an amalgamation of everything that makes a FFXIV dungeon great. Good design, good music, good pacing and an amazing ensemble of bosses that leaves you gobsmacked after finishing the dungeon. That was our top 10 list of A Realm Reborn dungeons. Thank you for watching! Do you agree with us? Do you disagree? Let us know why, and show us your top 10 list in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to like this video if you did and subscribe for more! May you ever walk in the light of the Crystal!
As found on Youtube